Clorox may best known as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cleaning products – but now the company itself is coming clean about its fragrances.
In a groundbreaking move, the 100-year-old multinational – whose brands include Pine-Sol, Tilex, S.O.S., Burt’s Bees and more – will begin listing the ingredients of the scents found in its products on its website and in a free mobile app.
“Clorox is expanding its voluntary product ingredient disclosures to list fragrance components of its U.S. and Canadian cleaning, disinfecting and laundry products identified as potential allergens by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, an advisory board to the European Union,” said the company in a statement.
Fragrances can trigger asthma, headaches, dermatitis and other reactions in individuals who are sensitive; but the scent industry has resisted revealing its product ingredients, arguing they are trade secrets. European regulators have begun requiring manufacturers to disclose their fragrance components, but to date North American lawmakers have not.
Rick Smith, co-author of Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World, says it’s a huge step forward because chemicals such as phthalates, which have been linked to asthma, can make up a whopping 20 percent of some products, but are not normally listed.
He hopes to see a ripple effect of accountability.“If Clorox can do this, clearly it’s not the end of the world. So how do you hold out against this if you are one of Clorox’s competitors?” says Smith. “And if you’re the regulator, it’s embarrassing to have some of the biggest companies going further than you require. So it also puts significant pressure on governments to get a move on.”